Brighton Festival 2019
Tonight, Hoyle lets us reincarnate into a thermonuclear reaction of drag to live more and die less.
This Tuesday night at the Spiegeltent we become part of the ritualistic gender-transcending church of the self-proclaimed and exceedingly humane Uberbitch David Hoyle. A post-(post?)-modern explosion of disparate visual and sensory elements, he cleverly combines film, song, sound, stories, projections and tableaux vivants into a politically humorous piece of art.
Stepping on stage, the colourful beauty Hoyle appears as a grotesque larger than life character. The glittery blue eye-shadow, his red smothered lipstick, his enormous fake jewellery, his rocket-red wig and his black and white female kaftan (both of which he straightens several times during the performance to prevent them from falling off which is rather comical) let him appear like Divine from John Waters only in a more slender if not haggard version.
Highlighting the importance of the evening’s political discussion he leads us out of the fascist dystopia intending to free us from the gender restrictions of a militarised and capitalist society. But he won’t do all the work for us. If we want to be empowered and rise from this world of misery we have to take position. And what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger as Clive, a member of the audience rightly points out.
Inviting the audience to partake is a vital part of the construction of his performance piece, which on one hand excels through its precise choreography while relying heavily on Hoyle’s (s)exquisite improvisation skills. During the course of the evening we are introduced and get to know more about Clive, Dave, Victoria (a Meghan Markle look-alike), Lynn, Adrian, Roy and Jeremy who are in the end ‘all with us this evening’. We all should drink, take more drugs and love more to celebrate our gifted psychic beings and not our paranoid, schizophrenic selves. And one thing is assured, we won’t be underdogs any more and will transcend all that binary gender garbage whilst referring only to geopolitical zones with no borders.
Well then. Let us end things here as Hoyle might not have won a LGBT award (as so many half his age already have) but he has certainly helped us see that the assumed baby Jesus came in disguise of a rodent rat. So it goes or ‘Que sera, sera’. Among others, he pays homage to the deceased Doris Day and integrates classics as ‘Wild Horses’ by the Rolling Stones in his vocal repertoire. And oh, the man can sing. On the whole the songs he presents, the background post-punk and techno music he uses (as Adriano Celentano’s 80’s farcical tune on the British language) as well as his own horror struck and alien voice serving as commentary to the screened films add to the disjunctive performance explosion.
The two films he integrates intonate his political stances and take reference to the performance location. ‘Paracetamol’ by Matt Lambert depicts gay love and ‘Rodean’ shows a mock advertisement realm for the private girls’ school Rodean in Brighton. Reaching a performance climax he improvises a song out of words given by the audience (pineapple, cuddle, ostrich, earth and hope) and immortalized audience member Carol on canvas. Carol’s portrait after being painted in an initially rather pleasing way disintegrates into a slightly daemonic blood struck painting. Finally, Hoyle in order to love more and because ‘we are living more and more in hell’ focuses on the beautiful things, handing out plant seeds to grow The Empress of India.
At the end of the evening and after a truly cathartic experience I feel full of life affirming joy having played a part in the creation of an outstandingly devised piece of (fuck-off) popular performance which is clearly rooted within cabaret tradition but places itself firmly within a 21st socio-political context. Or to put it in Hoyles’s own closing words: ‘We all are all equally as valid, justified and beautiful’ no matter in what disguise we appear. Thank you David! We have truly transcended gender.